Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/109

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Battle of Drewry's Bluff. 103

Third Virginia, of the latter brigade, having been left at Washington, N. C. Grade's brigade consisted of the Forty-first, Forty-third, Fifty- ninth and Sixtieth Alabama regiments, and Kemper's of the First, Seventh, Eleventh and Twenty-fourth Virginia regiments.

The formation of the enemy's line was as follows : On the extreme right the negro cavalry ; east of the stage road, eight companies of the Ninth New Jersey, two companies of the same regiment on the west of the road ; west thereof the Twenty-seventh, Twenty-third and Twenty-fifth Mrssachusetts regiments; then Wistar's brigade and other troops of the Eighteenth army corps. Still further, near the Petersburg railroad, the Tenth army corps.

Our force, commencing on the left, were composed of the aforesaid brigades of Gracie and Kemper; west thereof, Barton's brigade, sup- ported by Hoke all constituting Ransom's division, while to our ex- treme left were some dismounted cavalry skirmishers stretching out in a thin line to the river.

To the west of Ransom was Hoke's division, with Hagood's, Busnrod Johnson's, Gingham's and Corse's brigades, Corse having the extreme right, near the railroad, while Colquitt with his brigade and Ransom's, was held in reserve.

THE FIGHT BEGINS.

It was two o'clock in the morning of the i6th, and consequently still very dark, when we fell into line and marched out from the woods in front of Drewry's Bluff, which had sheltered us from the night. Crossing Kingsland creek, we formed in line of battle to the right of the road. Perhaps two hours were consumed in getting the line formed, loading and getting ready for the fray. Meanwhile a heavy- fog came up, enveloping everything around us in a thick shroud, so heavy that we could not see ten steps ahead. About 4:30 o'clock everything was ready and General Gracie gave the command in a loud, ringing voice, " Skirmishers, forward, march! Second, the battalion of direction, battalions forward, guide right, march !" For- ward went the line, having the Forty first on the left, then the Six- tieth, Fifty-nineth and Forty-third Alabama regiments in order named to the right.

While we could not see a thing, we could hear that the column in our front was in motion. Hardly ten minutes passed when General Terry, commanding Kemper's brigade, ordered his men to follow. Slowly and in perfect line of battle the brigade commenced its for-